Tag Archives: Forrest Fang

Review: Scenes From A Ghost Train – Forrest Fang

For well over 3 decades, Forrest Fang has created sound journeys, each as different as the landscape imagery they invoke. That’s an impressive commitment to not only his own sense of atmospheric creativity, but also to dedicated fans accumulated throughout his sixteen albums. With his latest release from Projekt Records, Scenes from a Ghost Train, Forrest Fang opts to take listeners on a cross-universe ride in a train that exists only within you.

This nine-track escape includes a four-piece title track departure that starts at a “Five-Mile Crater”, visits “Koch’s Veil”, participates in ” A Meeting of Totems”, and ends in “The Pulse of The Stars”.  Add in a twenty-minute aurally-induced display of “The Great Migration”, and four more pieces, Scenes From A Ghost Train  becomes more than an ambient album, it becomes a self-creating painting of continual brush strokes of imagination.

Everything has a sound of the universe in the background. Call it unsettling or rapturous, the choice is yours. But it sets a tone for the soundtrack of travel that is beautifully augmented by the musical skills of Forrest Fang’s toolbox of various instruments.  “A Meeting of Totems” become an earthly tribal experience, while its transitioning follow, “The Pulse of Stars” moves to a wider expanse of majesty.

Works by Forrest Fang are easily notable experiences in vast and completely uncharted cerebral landscapes. It’s difficult to assign the word ‘favorite’ among any of them.


The Ambient Series: Letters To The Farthest Star – Forrest Fang

Forrest Fang Letters To The Farthest StarForrest Fang is a multi-instrumentalist who has experimented with applications of traditional instruments like the violin, piano, guitars, and other, more exotic and classical instruments against backdrops of electronics to create waves of ambient textures. With over 30 years of music, found on over ten stunning albums that complete his solo efforts (thus far), and a multitude of appearances on other artists’ works, Forrest Fang has created a rich body of intriguing sound.

On March 3, Forrest Fang released a new richly-textured album in his latest offering, Letters To The Farthest Star. The new album is a variety of ambient explorations that are immediately respectful of cultural musical diversity. The songs on this beautiful set travel through a brilliant spheres of places, some filled with familiar influence (“Water Village”, part III from the opening suite, “The Unreachable Lands”), and beauty (“Seven Coronas”). But there is no light without darkness. Forrest Fang has equally stepped out into the furious frights of our being with pieces like “Fossils”, and “Lorenz”.

The music heard here is both fearless and compelling. Forrest Fang is an artist in the highest sense that is able to merge his classical skills with the swirling textures of electronic music to produce a classic.

Letters To The Farthest Star is a brilliant collection of nearly 70 minutes of music with which to stir our souls with.

Review: The Wolf At The Ruins/Migration – Forrest Fang

ForrestFangWolfMigrationForrest Fang released his latest album, Animism, on June 19 back in 2012.  That album represented an entrancing blend of instrumental work resulting in an ambient set that was as beautiful as anything he has undertaken in the past.  The music of Forrest Fang is rich, with a fair amount of released albums that include several early sets released on his own Ominous thud label.  Since those early albums, Fang, a Chinese-American instrumentalis, and composer, has graduated to other labels such as the NYC-based Projekt Records (who released Animism).

His formative years produced a wealth of enchanting music, such as can can be found on the subject of this review, The Wolf At The Ruins (1989), and Migration (1986).  On these two, you’ll discover (or return to) the sounds of hypnotic percussion, space electronica, and a beautiful array of combined instrumentation.

Migration followed two previous works, also released on his personal label.  It was followed by The Wolf At The Ruins.  Both ambient releases merged electronics with traditional instrumentation to create engaging hybrids of music.  Listening to both albums, you’ll get the immediate effect of remembering the specific electronic and ambient styles of the late 80s, often popularized by the emerging – and sometimes confusing – “new-age” label.  Over time, that applied  label softened to Smooth Jazz, still confusing as such labels tend to throw off people wanting to migrate to (or experiment with) the kind of brilliance that makes up a work like Forrest Fang would create.

Projekt Records have created a 2CD Limited Edition of these two ambient works.  With only 300 produced, it’s important to remember that one) these two albums have been out of print for a long twenty years, and two) they hold up magnificently well for a dated sound.  And just because the sounds remind you of a time past, does not meant that the music found on these two albums has become irrelevant.  On the contrary.  The re-emergence of The Wolf At The Ruins, and Migration, especially in such a limited run, serves to remind us that ambient music, when done well, as these two albums are, can be rewarding from both a collector’s standpoint (ambient collectors are a maniacal and intense bunch), and from an immersion point.

Exclusive to these two reissued titles are several bonus tracks for each album that were recorded from the sessions but not included on the released albums.

Revisiting the aural magic on these two albums was a warm and enveloping experience for me just as, I’m sure it can be for you.  If you’re an ambient fan, you can’t go wrong with these reasonably price, newly remastered gems.

Release Date: August 7, 2013
Label: Projekt Records
Availability: CD, DD

–Matt Rowe